9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 3 – One Idea Per Slide

9_-_A_Simple_Guide_to_Better_Presentations.011NOTE: This is the third in a series of posts taken from our guide 9: A Simple Guide to Better Presentations. Can’t wait and want to get it all now? Download the eBook for FREE here.

Just as your presentation should emphasize one big idea, make each slide about one thing.

If you have five lines of text on your slide now, break it up into one line on five separate slides.

And get rid of the bullet points, fancy builds, text animation, and slide transition effects.

Too much clutter distracts people. They pay attention to the stuff on your slide instead of you. The purpose of your slide is not to show how clever you are. It’s to help you make your points (see point #1).

Instead, put more time into planning your message. Thee return is much higher than you’ll get on that silly swoosh effect.

9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 2 – Your Presentation is About One Thing

9_-_A_Simple_Guide_to_Better_Presentations.008NOTE: This is the second in a series of posts taken from our guide 9: A Simple Guide to Better Presentations. Can’t wait and want to get it all now? Download the eBook for FREE here.

A lot of presentations try to cover too much ground. You may think you need to tell your prospect (or team or students) everything. You don’t.

Some presentations, on the other hand, are about nothing. They don’t have a point.

Your presentation should be about one thing. People have a hard time remembering so make your presentation about one big idea.

Just give them one thing and leave them wanting more.

Steal Apple’s Design Philosophy To Improve Your Presentations

At the World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) this week, Apple unveiled some pretty cool things: upcoming versions of its operating systems for mobile devices (iOS 7) and desktop computers (MacOS X “Mavericks”) as well as the next generation of its professional desktop computer, the Mac Pro.

Preceding all the news and announcements, though, was a nifty little video that explained Apple’s design philosophy:

If you design and deliver presentations regularly, the tie-ins should be obvious:

  • People remember what they feel
  • Doing something great means saying “no” to a lot of “good” things
  • Focus your presentation on one key idea

Want some specific suggestions for using these ideas in your presentations?

Get the FREE 9 guide or the Presentation Renovation eBook. You’ll learn how to take an ordinary presentation and make it extraordinary, applying the same principles that Apple uses to make remarkable stuff. The stuff that makes people camp outside Apple stores days before it’s released.

Learning from Superheroes: Why Every Presentation Needs Conflict

Imagine Superman without Lex Luthor, Spiderman without the Green Goblin, Batman without The Joker, or Thor without Loki.

Boring, right?

Why?

Every superhero needs a villain.

What good is a crimefighter if there’s no crime to fight? The badness of the bad guys validates the goodness of the good guys.

Without the Matrix, Neo is just another office drone who hacks in his off-hours.

Without Darth Vader, the Empire, and the Dark Side, Luke Skywalker is just another brooding farm kid on an outpost planet.

Every hero’s story needs conflict to make it interesting.

To make things even more interesting, however, the hero’s conflict is often internal as well as external.

Should Neo swallow the red pill or the blue pill–join the struggle against the Matrix or remain in his relatively safe but artificial world?

Should Han Solo enlist with the Rebel Alliance to fight the Empire or continue smuggling for his own selfish gain?

Should Peter Parker continue to fight crime as Spiderman or give it up for a simple, happy life with Mary Jane?

Conflict creates a natural curiosity in an audience since we want to know how or if the tension will be resolved. Conflict, then, is an important tool for keeping attention.

So whether you call it conflict, tension, or contrast, your presentation also needs it to make it interesting and memorable.

Here are two ways you can build external and internal tension into your presentation.

External conflict: introduce a tension but don’t resolve it until later

In this case, the conflict is yours, not your audience’s. Maybe it’s a story from your own experience or a problem from someone else. Your audience feels the tension and wants to see it resolved, but the problem is not their own.

One client we recently coached told her audience about taking 15 family members–spanning 4 generations and 90 years in age–on a vacation. Where would they go? How would they get there? What special concerns (diet needs, limited mobility, relationship dynamics) would prevail?  By setting the stage with these questions, she created a sense of tension in her listeners–they want to know what’s going to happen! By waiting until the end of her presentation, though, to reveal what happened, she kept their attention through the talk.

Internal conflict: create a desire for change

What do I want my audience to do? This is one of the first questions that should guide your planning. Once you’ve answered that, you can build your message around taking your audience from where they’re at now to the place you want them to go. This differencebetween where they are now and where you want them to go–this contrast–creates tension.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, for example, he described the current world of smart phones: not very smart and not very easy to use. He then offered Apple’s solution: very smart and very easy to use. That contrast creates a conflict in the audience. “I don’t want to keep using my dumb, difficult phone,” we say to ourselves. “I want the new, smart, easy-to-use phone.”

What change do you want your audience to make? Create tension and highlight it. In fact, Nancy Duarte has a great TED talk describing how to use this type of contrast to structure an entire presentation. Check it out.

In your next presentation, find a way to include conflict to keep your audience interested and you’ll find it easier to move them as well.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Case Study: Build Unstoppable Momentum into Your Speaking and Writing by Tapping into the Power of Collaboration

Jill Savage, CEO of Hearts at Home - Renovate Communication Design, LLCToday’s case study (and our first guest post) comes from Jill Savage, an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging families. Jill is the CEO of Hearts at Home, a non-profit that seeks to encourage, educate, and equip moms. She has written nine books including Professionalizing Motherhood, My Heart’s At Home, Real Moms…Real Jesus, and her most recent release No More Perfect Moms.

I tend to be a lone ranger.

I’m an introvert which means that I am refueled by being alone. Many introverts are also internal processors. Rarely discussing an issue with others, I think through every angle of a challenge in order to determine how to proceed. My internal processing drives my husband crazy because I’ve been known to internally process a decision we need to make about home and family and then announce to my husband the decision that we—I mean I—have made.

When it comes to my writing and speaking, I have most often operated out of my introvert/internal processor tendencies.

Until this past year.

That’s when I learned about the power of collaboration for speaking and writing.

On February 1, 2013, my ninth book was released. No More Perfect Moms is my first book created by collaboration. Most of the concepts in the book came out of conversations I’ve had with people at my speaking engagements, on my blog, and on Facebook. They asked questions that caused me to think. They shared thoughts that generated creativity. They brainstormed ideas that helped me to formulate concepts. My Facebook followers doubled as a focus group that quickly answered questions I posed during the writing process allowing me to better address an issue than I could have ever done on my own. Collaboration strengthened the message that truly connected to the heart of the reader.

The release of the book was also a collaborated effort. In partnership with my publisher and based upon the principles of Michael Hyatt’s book Platform, we created a launch team of 100 influencers. Over 150 applied for the launch team and we selected 100 influencers we felt could best reach the intended audience of the book. This team received a preview copy of the book and agreed to share about it in their circles of influence. A bonus special of over $100 of additional resources for anyone who purchased the book during launch week gave the launch team something special to share with social media and blog followers. Mix in some strategic media coverage and this teamwork put the book in its second printing within 14 days of its release! Collaboration broadened the audience and enabled us to reach more readers in a shorter period of time than any other book I’ve ever written. Mark Sanborn, author of Fred 2.0, says, “The only thing more powerful than a committed individual is a team of committed individuals.” I certainly found that to be true.

Jill Savage, speaker and author, CEO of Hearts at Home - Renovate Communication Design, LLC - speaker and presentation coaching and consulting

For the first time ever, I chose to pursue collaboration to create my speaking message for the National Hearts at Home conference where I spoke to an audience of 5,000 moms in March. Again, I found the results of teamwork to be very powerful. I did this in three ways:

First, I created a private Facebook group for the book launch team. As the launch team members read the book they shared their favorite quotes, the stories that impacted them, or the way the book was changing their perspective. This helped me to pull out the most essential parts of the book’s message to include in my speaking message on the same subject.

Second, I pulled out my notes from Ken Davis’ SCORRE conference that I attended several years ago. At SCORRE, I learned the art of creating a focused message using the SCORRE method. Even though Ken wasn’t in the room with me, I was tapping into the wisdom I learned at his conference about developing and delivering a focused, dynamic message. Education is a form of collaboration that you can access anytime!

Third, I tapped into the wisdom of Michael and Deanne at Renovate Communication Design consulting group, to help me take the concepts I wanted to share and assemble them into a compelling message that would touch the heart of the audience and motivate them to action. Just two hours with Michael and Deanne took me from my usual “teaching” style to an “inspirational” message that was ready for the big stage. They not only helped me think through the content of my message, but also the visuals I could present on the screen that would enhance the message but be different than my “usual” powerpoint. Nearly a month out from the conference, I’m still receiving daily email and social media messages about the impact that message made on the lives of those in the audience. (Ed. note: Shown below are the notes we made during our session with Jill. Keeping the ideas visible during conversation is especially helpful when planning a talk –Michael)

Speaking and presentation coaching example from Renovate Communication Design, LLC

As a leader, I’ve always been a believer in teamwork. I know that more can be accomplished when we link arms together to accomplish a goal. I had just never applied that strategy to the more solitary parts of my career like writing and speaking.

I’ll probably never be as collaborative as my extroverted, external processing husband. However, I am learning that teamwork is a valuable way to create a strong message, present it in a dynamic way, and reach the heart of an audience.

What about you? How can you bring the power of collaboration to the crafting and delivery of your message?